The Aussie Millions 2019 is up and running and tournament director Joel Williams is adamant that 2019 could well break last years records.
“Not cautiously optimistic, optimistic,” he commented. “Eleven months ago, I was really nervous; I thought the PCA (PokerStars Caribbean Adventure) was going to decimate the $10k and up crowd. I thought that we’re never going to be able to replicate 2018, but if we blow the siren right now and look at the Main Event, for example, we’re way in front of what I thought we would be.
“We know that the High Roller market has obviously changed, but we know that we continue to have the reputation of arguably the softest $10k field on the planet. If the perception is that it’s a room full of people who are arguably out of their depth, then why the hell wouldn’t you come? Even the locals all go “Oh yeah, no one knows how to play – I do, of course – but no one else does!”
Last years record breaking tournament was helped by the surge in value of Bitcoin and the higher disposable income that many poker players had at the time. It led to a record 800 entries for the Main Event itself.
“The fact that the poker community won the bitcoin lottery mid to late last year certainly helped, but we’re not gonna replicate that this year, unfortunately!” Williams continued. “Hayley Breen is in contact with players every day of the year. Last year the day after the Aussie Millions finished, she was helping them get out of the country, and the moment they land she’ll be working to get them to come back!”
There are a number of factors that suggest there could be a drop in numbers from last year including the lack of online poker, increased cost of living, location and added competition, but all signs are that those fears were unfounded.
“We were planning 2019 two weeks after last year’s tournament finished, and there were seats to this year’s Aussie Millions locked up in the second or third week in March. It’s just good at creating awareness; it keeps the Aussie Millions constantly at the front of players’ minds.
“We came to a fork in the road when the online poker legislation changed. That was suddenly 250 seats that we needed to get back just to where we were. And a lot of the satellites back then were already enormous, and the answer was just to run more of them!”
The main change to this years version is the addition in a big blind ante in some tournaments, not the Main Event itself however.
“We only introduced [big blind ante] in a weekly tournament half-way through the year or so. It’s just a lack of exposure. It’s got to get to a better level of experience among the players before it can be introduced in the Main Event. But look, last year there was none and this year it’s in a third of events. Next year, probably in two-thirds of events and who knows, maybe the Main is one of them.”
The first event which is already underway is the AUD$1,000,000 GTD Opening Event, other additions are a new AUD$25k PL Omaha tournament starting the same day as the Main Event.
We will bring you regular updates right here at LateReg!